Meat & Livestock News

USDA Secretary Vilsack Foresees Regulatory Challenges with California’s Proposition 12


  • USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses concerns over California’s Proposition 12 with state agriculture officials, highlighting the potential for regulatory chaos in the meat market.
  • Proposition 12, which sets housing conditions for pork sold in California, raises questions about the balance between state and federal regulatory powers.
  • Vilsack points out the difficulties in navigating state-specific regulations, using hemp as an example, and expresses scepticism about the political viability of bills aimed at countering Proposition 12.

During a recent gathering with state agriculture department officials on the USDA patio, Secretary Tom Vilsack voiced apprehensions regarding the implications of states enacting regulations akin to California’s Proposition 12.

This legislation, which prescribes specific housing standards for pork sold within California regardless of the production location, has sparked a debate on the extent to which individual states can influence agricultural practices on a national scale.

Vilsack highlighted the potential for “chaos” in the meat market as state mandates begin to clash with federal directives, suggesting that the industry may face turbulent times ahead. He underscored the dilemma by referring to a podcast about James Madison, which delved into the intricacies of navigating the powers vested in state versus federal authorities.

The Secretary also touched upon the broader challenges of federal regulation, exemplified by the hemp industry’s struggle with inconsistent state THC level regulations. This scenario underscores the complexity of achieving a harmonious regulatory framework across the nation.

Despite legislative efforts in Congress to mitigate the impact of Proposition 12, Vilsack remains sceptical about their chances of success, given the current political landscape.

This discussion with state agriculture leaders underscores the ongoing debate over the appropriate balance of regulatory authority in the agricultural sector, with significant implications for the future of interstate commerce and farming practices across the United States.